People often tell me they want to follow the footsteps of their favorite person on Instagram or Youtube and “brand themselves”, but they just don’t know where to start.

Here’s the thing: You are already a brand.

If you are on a social media platform, you are a brand. If you’re not on social media, you are a brand. The thoughts and opinions you share, the meme’s on your timeline, and the water cooler convo’s you engage in are all branding you.

The way you move through the world tells the story of:

Who you are, what you think, and what you believe.

Everybody has a brand, but not everyone controls their brand. Strategic branding is simply controlling the narrative. It’s being intentional about what you allow people to think about you. The difference between you and the influencers you admire is they have learned to manage how you see them..

Strategic branding takes effort, and discipline.

Discipline to not post when you’re angry. The discipline to not not air your dirty laundry online. Avoiding foolish arguments via Twitter. Strategic branding is about putting in the effort to listen and care for your audience.
And consistently showing up for the followers and friends who are showing up for you.

Now, I am
NOT saying you shouldn’t speak up about social injustice, nor am I saying that you should avoid advocating for causes you’re passionate about. I’m simply saying be conscious about what you post. Too often we post in the heat of the moment and don’t think about the consequences. Branding yourself strategically means putting yourself in a position to open up opportunities, not close the door on them.

Look, we don’t live in a world where we can say (or do) whatever we want and keep our jobs, keep our friends and keep our peace. So be real and authentic about what you post, but be wise. Sure, you could take the position that your social media is your social media, and if they don’t like it, they can push. But I bet you’re reading this because you’re hoping to grow your thing, whatever your thing is. So, like it or not, what you say and do locks or unlocks doors for you.

Recently, one of my social media accounts was hacked. Within 10 minutes, I had people contacting me telling me my account had been compromised. My friends and followers know who I am. They know if a post doesn’t smell right. Why? Because I post consciously. I don’t post based on how I am feeling in the moment. I post the real me, and they can tell when something is out of bounds. When I post, it’s thoughtfully done and on brand. Every. Single. Time.

While you can’t control others emotions towards you, you can manage the fodder you give them. Success comes when people can trust that they know you can deliver. And the only way to deliver is to be consistent with who you tell them you are.

Will your next post take you closer to your goals?

“The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint.” Proverbs 17:27